Stress Reduction for TMJ Relief

NYC Cosmetic Dentists Serving Manhattan and New York, NY


Several different things can cause temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). Some of the leading causes include trauma, malocclusion, and arthritis, but other factors, including bruxism (tooth grinding), are common causes as well.

Bruxism, a stress response, may be temporary. But unfortunately, when it develops into a chronic habit or occurs while you are sleeping, it can cause a host of problems in addition to TMD, including uneven tooth wear, enamel erosion, gum recession, and broken, chipped, or cracked enamel. These things, in turn, can increase risks for tooth decay and infection, gum disease, and tooth loss, making bruxism an issue that must be addressed quickly.

Treating Bruxism

At NYC Smile Design, bruxism is treated with an occlusal guard. These devices are customized to fit comfortably over the teeth, providing a protective cushion when teeth are clenched. However, more than simple shock absorption is needed in cases where TMD has already developed. Treating TMD often requires a more comprehensive mouthguard and personalized combinations of orthodontics, restorative dentistry, and cosmetic treatments.

In addition to these TMD treatments, stress reduction may be necessary to address bruxism fully. This can include:

  • Beginning a Mindfulness Practice
  • Gentle Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Light Exercise
  • Caffeine Reduction
  • Getting Enough Sleep

Most forms of physical activity can relieve stress, but you needn't exhaust yourself to prevent the issue. For example, walking after meals, swimming, and other light-impact exercise is often sufficient for stress reduction.

Do I Have TMD?

Symptoms of TMD include clicking and popping noises when opening and shutting the mouth, pain or swelling around the jaw joint, frequent headaches, ear pain, nasal pressure, ocular discomfort, and more. If you are experiencing TMD symptoms but have failed to find relief, we welcome an opportunity to meet with you for a comprehensive evaluation where we can determine if TMD is present and discuss treatment options to help restore optimal alignment and comfort.

April is Stress Awareness Month and a great time to consider adding stress reduction techniques to your day. In addition to bruxism, stress is linked to mood disorders, digestive problems, heart disease, sleep difficulties, weight gain, and chronic pain. Addressing stress through lifestyle changes can help to prevent these issues. It may even add years to your life.

To learn more about safe and effective TMD treatment options, please call NYC Smile Design at 212-452-3344 to schedule your initial consultation today.